Communal computing, part 2

Microscopio de tres cuerpos (source: Biblioteca General Antonio Machado)

If the devices aren’t designed with communal computing expectations in mind, they’re destined for the landfill.

In this next article about communal computing we walk through five problem areas: identity, privacy, security, experience, and ownership.

As technologists, we often call these weirdnesses “edge cases.” That’s precisely where we’re wrong: they’re not edge cases, but they’re at the core of how people want to use these devices.

There are key questions for each of these areas:

  • Identity — do we know all of the people who are using the device?
  • Privacy — are we exposing (or hiding) the right content for all of the people with access? What about children?
  • Security — are we allowing all of the people using the device to do or see what they should and are we protecting the content from people that shouldn’t? What about biometrics?
  • Experience — what is the contextually appropriate display or next action?
  • Ownership — who owns all of the data and services attached to the device that multiple people are using?

If we don’t reconsider how these devices are designed and built they will keep getting recycled. I hope you find this post helpful in understanding the problems.

See the first post for the history of how we got here:

Recap of all articles

  1. Communal Computing — How do we build devices that are shared by default?
  2. Communal Computing’s Many Problems — Where user-centric computing goes wrong
  3. A Way Forward with Communal Computing — Do’s and Don’ts when Designing for the Community




Chaotic good product manager, Head of Product Operations @ Cognizant

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

It's Happened!! Apple Car has a Big Plan in 2022, Global Warning for Tesla

Friday Five: October 2017


16 Modern Words with The Most Uncanny Origins


Smartphone, meet smartglass. Now tether.

Meet Biobotix Labs

Insignia Soundbar Bluetooth Not Working

The Increasing Need for a Chief Robotics Officer

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Chris Butler

Chris Butler

Chaotic good product manager, Head of Product Operations @ Cognizant

More from Medium

Passwords, Privacy, and Proactivity

The Maintainable Program Manifesto (MPM)

The beauty of the Open-era: Hacking the tech industry with open technology

Wrapping up the year with Sunlight